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Eclipse

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(22 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Reviewgium – Volume I, issue II

    Amorphis has returned with a new singer and consequently, a heavier and more vigorous album. Eclipse has a very refined and well-produced sound with strong, melodic songs, and powerful vocals.

    The album starts with an eerie synthesizer intro that leads into the driving beat of “Two Moons,” a song rich with pounding riffage and heavy, gritty vocals. “House of Sleep” follows quickly with a catchy, melodic guitar rhythm, and delivers great vocal harmonies throughout. About 2/3 into the song, an ethereal keyboard/synthesizer duet segues into one of the album’s many clever key shifts. As “Leaves Scar” begins with a soft airy melody, it seems you are going to get a little break from the action…but no…a heavy riff begins and ushers in a nice, brutal death vocal verse, eliminating any doubt that Amorphis is fooling around with this album. Adding to the brutality is the explosive “Perkele,” and almost highlandish “Brother Moon,” as well as the album highlight “The Smoke.” Things slow down, but do not lessen in intensity, with the songs “Under a Soul and Black Stone,” and “Same Flesh,” and the album finishes off with the fundamental rocker “Empty Opening” and somewhat inconsequential bonus track “Stone Woman.”

    I highly recommend this album to new listeners and older fans alike. Whatever edge and intensity Amorphis may have lost with the last few albums, they have regained with Eclipse. Again, it is more refined and a better quality album soundwise than say, Elegy. Take that as you will.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It’s difficult to change vocalists and retain the same following, but Amorphis have achieved it. Eclipse is the third chapter in Amorphis’ career. When they first started out, guitarist Tomi Koivusaari sang and played the guitar. Then came their amazing second singer Pasi Koskinen, stepping in for their Elegy masterpiece, with both clean and death vocals. The band released a string of successful albums with Koskinen until 2004’s Far from the Sun, where they not only abandoned their folky roots and psychedelic backdrop, but also took on a relatively more modern sound. The album was criticised severely by the band’s fanbase and led to the departure of Pasi Koskinen who perhaps couldn’t summon the necessary inspiration anymore.

    Enter Sinisthra vocalist Tomi Joutsen, hence the third chapter of the band. Not only is Eclipse a perfect return to form, it also marks the release of their heaviest album since 1996’s Elegy. Joutsen is an absolutely stunning vocalist, with so much power and emotion in his delivery. Most fans, myself included, thought it impossible to fill Koskinen’s shoes, but the impossible has happened. Considering the songs on this album, Joutsen seems like a much better fit than Koskinen would ever have. Repeat listens reveal Amorphis harkened back to their previous albums, combining the best sides of Elegy, Tuonela, and Am Universum. The album kicks off with the powerful “Two Moons”, showcasing a very strong vocal performance and plenty of proggy keyboard lines. The piece has a strange Elegy feel to it, moreso sonically than musically. With “Leaves Scar”, a song that opens with a folky acoustic intro, the band plays out some great rhythmic grooves, utilising fierce death growls and harmonised back-up singing. Some of the melodies, like the one on “Born from Fire”, are the band’s strongest in a long time. Both catchy and intense, this song sounds like a heavier leftover from the Tuonela sessions, except with more throaty vocals. There is a nice piano interlude in the middle that repeats the said melody which is then replaced by a terrific guitar lead.

    Two songs particularly stand out as catchier and more straightforward than before, especially by Amorphis’ standards. “House of Sleep” is very much like a Sentenced song circa Crimson where they were at their most melodic (and relatively less mainstream compared to the two albums they followed it up with). Even Toni Joutsen sings like Ville Laihiala did here employing an utterly engaging chorus along the way, until the breaking point where Amorphis makes the piece their own with the arrival of a nice piano and synth lead respectively. Much like “House of Sleep”, the closing track “Empty Opening” features a very Sentenced-like chorus, only darker and more aggressive. This wouldn’t seem too out of place on Frozen, easily their darkest and most suicidal release.

    Those who’ve been expecting a more psychedelic album a la Elegy will be very pleased with “Under A Soil and Black Stone”, a song highlighted by odd sound effects, whilst those looking for a more Tales from the Thousand Lakes vibe should enjoy “The Smoke” for its haunting death growls and “Brother Moon” for its folk meets prog meets death metal approach. This is quite possibly the most progressive song on the album, along with “Same Flesh”, a piece with blazing organ leads and interesting backing harmonies.

    Amorphis have returned with one of their strongest albums to date. This could be their best since Elegy or their more folk-laden work Tuonela.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I have been a fan of Amorphis since Tales From the Thousand Lakes changed the way I saw music. That album still remains my favorite. However, after a few attempts at a more “mellow” Amorphis, the group has come back with a new lead singer (Pasi, you will be missed for your contributions). But Tomi brings the band into what the band truly stands for – ever changing.
    Eclipse is the best surprise I have heard from this group in about 6 years. It moves back to the roots of the band – incorperation of doom metal and melodies that only this band could pull off. For the death metal fan the growls are back and done very well. For followers of the newer Amorphis, the singing is not in the least bit dissapointing. Every song is a reawakening to this group, if you have never heard of these guys this is a wonderful first album to pick up…. An absolute masterpiece!

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is Amorphis’ seventh album. Now initially Amorphis started off as a Melodic Death Metal band and it is prominent in the first 3 albums. Many fans agree “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” is a work of genius. Then the next three albums evolved into more mainstream metal, with nevertheless complex arrangements. And now returns the new album Eclipse. I must say I prefer the Melodic Death Metal Amorphis to the Melodic/Heavy Metal Amorphis in the last three albums. Eclipse is a return to form, perhaps not truly – but only because the production is much better than Tales From The Thousand Lakes.

    This is a grand album and the guys return with astounding new songs. The new vocalist is very good. He uses three types of vocals: death vocals, “growly” clean vocals and soft clean vocals. Two Moons is a heavy track with excellent keyboard parts and driving guitar parts. There are softer clean singing songs such as House Of Sleep and Born From Fire. I love the pianos in these songs. The vocalist (Tomi Jousten) sings his heart out in House Of Sleep. Fans of the repeated arpeggios with the guitars (in Tales) will love the chorus of this song. In the chorus the heavy guitars plays the expressive melody with one guitar and intense chords with the other. Born From Fire is similar with a majestic solo.

    Leaves Scar is my favourite song and reminds me of “Black Winter Day” (from their second album). It’s quite a slow song, has a beautiful melody, and long drawn out death vocals. The combination of death vocals and guitars works brilliantly. The clean choruses are outstanding. The folk-like keyboard work brings the song to life.

    Under a Soil starts off slow and moody with perfectly placed pianos but then progresses into a fast solo. It leads into the next song: Perkele, which is the heaviest song with lots of death vocals for the verses and clean vocals for the chorus. It’s a very dissonant moody song, and has a grandiose solo then ends on a very powerful and moody note. A good thing about Amorphis is that they don’t foolishly stick in solos every five seconds, but adorn each song gracefully. Solos are a good thing, but when a band concentrates on the solos ALONE, it gets tedious.

    The Smoke and Brother Moon mostly have clean singing but have death vocals here and there that fit in perfectly. The Smoke Starts off with a piano to gentle strumming then proceeds to the verses. The verses have clean singing, but in the choruses death vocals join in that fits in perfectly. Again there is another beautiful solo and the chorus follows. Brother Moon starts off folk-style. At the 57-second mark a fine guitar riff is played. The song is sung in clean vocals until 3.04 where the death vocals come in. The drumming is great in this song.

    Same Flesh has rather distorted guitars and Tomi shows his talent as an apt vocalist. This song is a bit slower and quite drawn out. The ending is very good, with an amazing melody being played. The album ends at Empty Opening, which features some angry singing to impressive background music.

    This is an excellent beautiful Melodic Death metal CD. It shows Amorphis’ continuing progression to create a unique soundscape. Amorphis is Melodic Death but quite different compared to the speedy fast Gothenburg metal, even though Amorphis are from that area. It’s like Opeth. Opeth are a (progressive) Death Metal band, but they don’t have brutal lyrics, or play at top speed. Instead their music much is slower and they have poetic lyrics. In the same way, Amorphis is a slower Melodic Death metal band; with poetic lyrics, still maintaining the heaviness. It’s not your average metal album: it’s extremely emotive and atmospheric. The merger between folk and death metal is individual and almost undiscerning, because they fit together really well. Along with Tales, this album is greatly captivating and ambient. Few Metal bands are able to produce an album, which is both talented and atmospheric. Quite a lot of metal is brilliant, but don’t leave an emotive resonance. Opeth does, along with Amorphis. Words cannot really describe how grand this album is. Buy it!

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • AMORPHIS – Eclipse
    -
    Amorphis has had an interesting musical journey…
    They are credited at being one of the originators of Melodic Death Metal with their albums, `The Karelian Isthmus’ (1992) and `Tales from the Thousand Lakes’ (1994). They began the blending of Singing with their abrasive vocals on (What most would call) their masterpiece, `Elegy’ (1996). Losing the growls the band released a very different, yet still intriguing album in 1999 titled Tuonela. Blending Prog, Hard-Rock, with a more traditional Folk style… Sadly the new millennium was not as kind to Amorphis. `Am Universum’ (2000) was alright but really just not the `Amorphis’ that people had come to know… 2003’s `Far From the Sun’ was decent, but more of a straight-forward rock album. Shortly after this album long time vocalist Pasi Koskinen, left the band… he was replaced by Tomi Joutsen.
    This brings us to 2006, and the release of `Eclipse’, which is their strongest release since Elegy…

    -Eclipse opens with Two Moons which is a perfect intro… Some fancy keyboard work which is pushed by powerful, driving guitars. The second, Tomi’s voice comes in all my `new vocalist’ worries were washed away… His combination of aggressive hard-rock vocals with his haunting singing voice is a perfect balance. The bass and drum work, as always is exceptionally tight.
    -Track two, House of Sleep is the finest rock song I have heard in years… this song is simply fantastic. With no pun intended this song eclipses any of Amorphis’s previous attempts at catchy, hard-rock. The piano work during the last minute is outstanding.
    -Leaves Scar, is a return to the days of Elegy… combining some well executed growls with some nice singing. The guitar work on this track shines back to the Thousand Lakes days… This song has a big Folk vibe… Very cool.
    -The fourth song is Born from Fire, a solid track, although compared to the first four tracks it just seems good and not great. However it has an incredible guitar solo…
    -Under a Soil and Black Stone, is perfectly placed at track five. An emotive piece with some great piano work during the intro… the song builds really nicely, growing heavier and climaxing with a fantastic guitar solo. The song then closes back out with the piano and fades into…
    -Perkele (The God of Fire), which is a pure tour de force… The vocals, play really well between the death growls and the clean singing. This song is a big plus for fans from the Thousand Lakes era.
    -Track seven is, The Smoke, a solid track overall… just nothing particular outstanding.
    -The progressive sounding, Same Flesh follows… The rhythm section shines on this track… dishing out a powerful back-drop for the guitars and vocals.
    -Track nine is the folk-driven Brother Moon… another fantastic track. This song is so musically precise, I love the intricate drum work.
    -The closer is the beautiful Empty Opening, a stunning track which perfectly closes out the album.
    -And finally, just when you thought the CD was over they unleash the Secret song, [Track 11] Stone Woman.
    A nice bonus to have… Another rocking track.

    Conclusion…
    It is in the Top 3 of 2006 thus far… Fantastic Musicianship, Excellent Vocals, and an album that just plain kicks ass!!!

    Favorite Songs: House of Sleep, Leaves Scar, Under a Soil and Black Stone, Two Moons and Same Flesh.
    -5 Stars

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    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now